Elaine watched as her husband’s face grew redder with his rising blood pressure. Elaine, ten years younger than forty-five year old Red, thought of his mom as more of a surrogate grandmother than a mother-in-law. This kept Myrtle from really getting on Elaine’s nerves. Out of concern for his mother’s safety (so he said), Red had made another ill-advised attempt to orchestrate his mother to the Greener Pastures Retirement Home last year. After a Clash-of-the-Titans-style fight, Myrtle won. Naturally.

“Tell you what, Mama. How about I bring you lunch? To, uh, celebrate. Elaine just came back from the store and she’s got some...” He looked at Elaine urgently as she pulled up various foodstuffs from the depths of the grocery bags. “...fresh-baked rye bread and Cajun roast beef. Mmm...and a melon bowl, too. If you’ve got some barbeque chips, and I bet you do, then we’ve got lunch.” Cementing the deal, Red hung up and scowled at the phone.

“Got to figure out what’s going on with Mama. Today it’s cars. What’s next? Motorcycles? You know how she gets these fixations.” Red checked the wall clock. “Mama must’ve been at the DMV when it opened because it’s hardly even lunchtime now. She’s even opened up a bottle of wine.”

Elaine’s frown wrinkled her forehead. “She must really have been bored to hang out at the DMV all morning.”

Red pictured his mother in a jaunty riding hat, tooting her horn and yoo-hooing to any pedestrians she knew. He groaned and grabbed a few of the groceries. Giving Elaine a quick kiss, he hurried out the door, straightening his uniform as he stomped out toward a small house directly across the road.


Myrtle peered through her window as Red, clutching a grocery bag, walked briskly out of his house. She smiled. This was a record for her—a two minute phone conversation netted her both a free lunch and a visit with her son.

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